Today’s issues: NGO transparency, a call to close the IDF’s Missionizing Unit, the Justice Minister’s shaming bill, and the stability litmus test.

Summary of editorials from the Hebrew press


The Jerusalem Post discusses the controversy surrounding the new legislation the government is considering regarding more transparency for NGOs that receive funding from foreign countries, and states: “The Israeli public is rightly concerned about the activities of left-wing NGOs that seek to undermine the very legitimacy of the State of Israel.” The author contends that Israeli politicians, sensitive to these concerns, are “taking steps to increase transparency to clarify to all that these NGOs enjoy little if any grassroots financial support. If not for the interference of foreign governments in internal Israeli affairs, these NGOs would probably not exist at all,” and concludes: “Israelis – and the world – have a right to know this.”

Haaretz contends that the Jewish awareness branch of the military rabbinate is one of the most prominent tools of religionization in the Israel Defense Forces, one which is actively striving to change the character of the army to religious nationalist, and asserts: “The Israel Defense Forces must not be subject to rabbinic and messianic influences, which usually go hand in hand with a particular political outlook. It must educate its soldiers and commanders toward values shared by all of Israeli society. Chief of Staff Eisenkot must persist in his fully justifiable efforts to stop the process of a religious takeover of the army, and close down the Jewish awareness branch, and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon must give him full backing on this issue.”

Yediot Aharonot believes that while the intent of the bill requiring representatives of NGOs that receive more than 50 percent of their budget from foreign governments to wear a special badge when they visit the Knesset, indicating the source of their income, is to shame them, its result will be the exact opposite: “The badge will become a source of pride, like a peacock’s feathers, like a beauty queen’s crown.” The author contends that the only outcome the bill will have will be to provide further ammunition for the West’s criticism of Israel, and states: “It will be a simple argument: Israel can’t complain about the labeling of products from the territories while it labels human rights activists in the Knesset. Labeling vs. labeling, a badge vs. a badge. The Israeli government is only spoiling things for its own country.”
Israel Hayom comments on the current wave of Palestinian terrorism, and notes that unlike the previous popular uprisings, “The masses are not rising up to fight Israeli soldiers in the streets, and there is no organized network of terrorist cells capable of carrying out suicide bombings in Israel." The author points out that “There is a discernible desire among Palestinians to avoid escalating the current violence, which is in fact most harmful to the Palestinians themselves,” and asserts that this is because “they want to maintain the quiet and stability the current situation affords them.”

[Nahum Barnea and Eyal Zisser wrote today’s articles in Yediot Aharonot and Israel Hayom, respectively.]